What not to ask your musher in Dawson…

Well between training runs and packing drop bags I can’t help but sneak a peak at the Yukon Quest trackers to see who is where.  And currently teams are either in, or headed to their mandatory 36 hour rest in Dawson. Got me thinking about back when I was handling for Dan and the team in Dawson.

Mushers arrive trail worn and a bit weary, although glad to be there and looking forward to the respite of 36 hours in one place and the help of a trusted handler crew. It is actually hard to explain what it feels like to come off 500 miles of mostly solitary trail and into the bustling scene that is Dawson during the Quest. And I am sure for each musher it is different as each has traveled their own personal journey (both literally and figuratively) to get to that point. But experience has taught me a few things about the arrival in Dawson…  Too much talking is not a good thing.  Face it mushers have been alone with their teams and the thoughts in their heads for miles, and are running on little to no sleep, which can make a musher pretty wonky. Continue reading

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Is it post race or pre race?

MK and Topaz, ready to race.  Photo - TC Wait

MK and Topaz, ready to race. Photo – TC Wait

With the Northern Lights 300 just finished and Iditarod right around the corner, not to mention Iditarod drop bags due, it is hard to tell around here right now! But let me try and get y’all up to date.




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Ready, Vet, Action…

Well if you have been following us on Facebook, you know I (Jodi) am down in Willow with 14 of the Dew Claw dogs preparing to run the Northern Lights 300 Sled Dog Race.  Here is what’s happened so far-

Dogs happily camped out at Odaroloc

Dogs happily camped out at Odaroloc

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No excuses, just photos….

Yup, I am a bad blogger. But anyone who knows us knows the motto at Dew Claw is “Dogs First”, and in that spirit we have been spending all our time on the trails training the Dew Claw Dogs. With the addition to our team of the worlds most awesome handler, Madeline, we have been able to take the entire race team on some major adventures in the BLM White Mountains.  This has been great training, and I hope has set us up well for a fun run in the Northern Lights 300Continue reading

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Video Update

_DSC0808 (2)Running non-stop is the best way to describe it.  Between getting the Space Cadets harness broke and off to a good start, and building up the miles on the race dogs we are launching 2-4 teams a day from the kennel. And of course there is the feeding and care of all these dogs. Firewood to keep the cabin and garage from freezing. Humans need food too, so add cooking to the list. On a good day there is time for some housework and laundry. *HA who are we kidding, I rarely do housework these days*  Yup, running non-stop; NOT complaining, just explaining. Continue reading

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Dew Claw Annual Holiday Wish List

Dog Mushing Jodi 28 Nov 2015 109A few years ago some of our friends said to me, “Jodi it is the holiday season and we would Love to do something nice for y’all as you prepare for Iditarod. You have been a very good girl this year (they were being kind) what can Santa bring you?”

Thus began the tradition of the Dew Claw Holiday Wish List.  Dan has a Nov birthday,  Christmas is around the corner, our anniversary is the end of the month, and I will not be growing up, but will be getting a year older Jan 23.  Plenty of holidays to celebrate, and you can be sure we will be celebrating them the Dew Claw way; With Dogs!!!  Every year we are honored that friends of Dew Claw help make the holiday season even more cheerful as they help us prepare for the races we are training for. Wish list items are traditionally things that we use in mass quantities and need to keep in stock at all times for training, or items so well worn that they sure could use replacing. As well as specialty items that in theory we can live without but which would make our lives safer and time on the trail more comfortable.

So if you are looking for a personal way to help Dew Claw this race season here are some things that would be really really helpful for us this year. And you know your warm wishes and kind words of support are always appreciated as well as we prepare for Iditarod 2016. Thank you so much to all who reach out to us as we work toward our goal of having a happy healthy team on the trail.

Holiday Wish List~

Delorme Texter – such a handy little safety item. It would enable emergency communication on remote mushing trips. Plus Dan and I could use it to keep in touch while I am on the glacier.

Men’s Compressor™ Pant – Mountain Hardwear
My current pair is being held together with so much duct tape they are more gray than black. They only make men’s which usually irks me no end, but these pants are so perfect for what I do I am going to let it slide. And as you will see further down I am used to dealing with having to get men’s clothing. I am a Men’s Medium. And Dan (who always wears men’s clothes) is a Large.
Available at http://www.rei.com and http://www.backcountry.com

Telescoping ski poles – yes after years of service one of my poles died on last year’s Iditarod. (operator error, not the poles fault)  I was using and really liked the Black Diamond Expedition Adjustable Ski Poles

Thermobell Camp booties – the only ones I have found that are sporting a real sole. Which is key for me. It means I can take off my boots first thing at a checkpoint and get them drying, while I do my chores in my booties. Since the women’s are not as insulated as the men’s version I am looking for a size 7.5 Men’s Thermobell http://www.backcountry.com/the-north-face-thermoball-bootie-ii-mens

Sled Plastic – OK not glamorous, but oh so important. I wrote a blog about it a few years back. The plastic we use is available at Cold Spot Feeds. http://www.coldspotfeeds.com/
We have an account with then under the name Dan Kaduce

Freezer ziplock style bags –  Two gallon bags can be purchased locally at A&W Wholesale. These are particularly useful when packing for a large 16 dog team  http://www.awwholesale.com/

Gallon and quart freezer bags can be purchased at Sam’s Club in Fairbanks. We have learned it is very important to get the freezer bags. The storage ones just do not hold up in the cold, and really who wants their entire bag of dog snacks breaking and spilling in the sled? Not me, been there, done that, not fun.

Speaking of snacks we purchase most of our trail food in bulk at Sams, and gift cards would help us cover the cost of human food for drop bags.

We could really use 2-3 large rugged duffle bags to pack our gear for races and trips. Ideally like the kind hockey players use for their gear. Yes, dressing for days on end of sub-zero temps requires a LOT of gear. *side note – I am not really as big as I look under all those parkas*

Hot Hands and AA Ultimate Lithium Batteries are always in high demand around here.

And yummy nutritious trail snacks are always a special treat.  I am very excited to have heard from friends Bob & Jolene that they will be making my favorite coconut bonbons again this year! There is something extra special about eating something homemade by people who care about you when you are out there feeling alone and tired.

Our Checkpoint Sponsorship program for 2016 is up and running as well, with many checkpoints still available. Learn more here.

Well there you have it my friends, for your consideration. And if there are other mushers on your list I bet they could use many of the same items – Freezer bags, hot hands and batteries to be sure.

And let me close by saying that we want to wish all our friends a very happy holiday and a wonderful new year full of adventure!  Happy Trails & Mush Love!



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